Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Okra, Three Ways: Pickled, Stir-Fried, and Gumbo-ed

Something else that flourishes in hot, dry weather is okra. Though looking out my window at the moment all I see is rain and gray clouds, courtesy of tropical storm Hermine, I will pass on these delicious sounding recipes that our CSA farmer sent out.


PICKLED OKRA

3 CUPS WATER
3 CUPS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
6 TABLESPOONS SALT (PREFERABLY SEA SALT)

THE ABOVE MIXTURE ARE TO BE HEATED TO A BOIL JUST BEFORE POURING OVER THE OKRA AND SPICES

1/2 TEASPOON DILL WEED PER JAR OF OKRA
1 WHOLE JALAPENO PEPPER PER JAR
1 CLOVE OF GARLIC PER JAR (SLICE GARLIC IN HALF)
1/2 TEASPOON OF MUSTARD SEED PER JAR

3 POUNDS OF OKRA
  1. PACK SPICES IN BOTTOM OF JAR
  2. PACK WHOLE OKRA IN JAR
  3. BOIL WATER, VINEGAR, AND SALT MIXTURE
  4. POUR OVER OKRA AND SPICES (FILL TO 1/2 INCH FROM TOP OF JAR
  5. CAP EACH JAR WITH THE CANNING LIDS AND PROCESS SEALED JARS IN BOILING WATER FOR 5 MINUTES
  6. LET JARS COOL AND REMOVE AND ALLOW OKRA TO MARINATE FOR ABOUT 4-6 WEEKS BEFORE EATING

FRESH OKRA GUMBO

4-6 SLICES OF BACON ( YOU DON'T HAVE TO USE BACON---YOU CAN USE OLIVE OIL OR COCONUT OIL IN PLACE OF BACON GREASE TO MAKE THE ROUX)
4 TBSP UNBLEACHED FLOUR
5 CUPS SLICE OKRA
3/4 CUP CHOPPED ONION
3 CLOVES GARLIC, CHOPPED
3 CUPS PEELED, CHOPPED TOMATOES (FRESH IS BEST BUT CANNED WILL DO. YOU CAN ALSO USE 1 CAN OF ROTEL TOMATOES IF YOU LIKE SPICY!)
1/2 TSP SALT
1/2 TSP BLACK PEPPER
HOT COOKED RICE

COOK BACON IN LARGE SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HEAT UNTIL CRISP. REMOVE FROM HEAT AND CRUMBLE BACON IN A SEPARATE BOWL-----SET ASIDE. RESERVE 6-8 TABLESPOONS OF BACON DRIPPINGS IN SKILLET.

STIR FLOUR INTO DRIPPINGS AND COOK OVER MEDIUM HEAT STIRRING CONSTANTLY UNTIL THE ROUX IS CARAMEL COLORED (ABOUT 10-15 MINUTES). ADD ONION AND GARLIC AND SAUTE FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES. ADD OKRA AND COOK FOR ABOUT 5 MORE MINUTES, STIRRING CONSTANTLY. STIR IN TOMATOES AND SPICES. COVER AND SIMMER 20-30 MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY. SERVE OVER RICE AND SPRINKLE WITH THE CRUMBLED BACON.


FRESH OKRA STIR FRY

4 -- 6 CUPS CHOPPED OKRA
1 LARGE POBLANO PEPPER, CHOPPED
3 - 4 TBSP OLIVE OIL OR COCONUT OIL
2 CLOVES GARLIC, CHOPPED
1 MEDIUM ONION, CHOPPED
1/3 TO 1/2 CUP SESAME SEEDS (OPTIONAL)
1/3 TO 1/2 CUP PEANUTS INSTEAD OF SESAME SEEDS (OPTIONAL)
HOT COOKED RICE

HEAT OIL IN LARGE SKILLET. ADD ONION AND GARLIC AND SAUTE FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES. THEN ADD THE CHOPPED POBLANO PEPPER AND SAUTE FOR ABOUT 8 - 10 MINUTES. THEN ADD OKRA AND SAUTE 15 - 20 MINUTES. ADD SESAME SEEDS OR PEANUTS AND SERVE OVER RICE. SEASON TO TASTE WITH SOY SAUCE.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Parmesan-Eggplant Crisps

Our current eggplant glut reminded me of this recipe from Cooking Light 2000. In fact, in looking through my four Cooking Light cookbooks' indexes for this one, I realized that there are tons of eggplant and okra recipes in these books which include everything from the magazine for each year.

This one is simply delicious.

Parmesan-Eggplant Crisps

1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise [didn't have any, used regular]
1 (3/4 pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 24 slices
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 12 crackers) [I didn't have any ... used breadcrumbs]
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan
Cooking spray

Combine crackers and cheese in a shallow dish.

Spread about 1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise over both sides of eggplant slices, using a rubber spatula. As you spread the mayonnaise on a side, dredge it in the cracker-cheese mixture.

Place eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; chill 2 hours [I never remember to do this early enough to chill it ... it is great anyway].

Preheat oven to 425°.

Bake eggplant for 15 minutes; turn slices over; and bake an additional 5 minutes or until crisp. Yield: 4 servings.